My husband and I are adventurous early retirees. We flew from the Pacific Northwest very much looking forward to our first taste of the Caribbean. We arrived early and enjoyed a week touring the Everglades and the Florida Keys.
Boarding was delayed due to Norovirus on the preceding cruise. It went quickly once they began. There was no welcome drink as is usual. Perhaps this was due to the extra cleaning which was intense. Nor did anyone offer to show us to our cabin, and I worried that our last suitcase was lost as it did not appear until nearly 9:PM.
The staff were their usual efficient selves though overworked due to all the extra cleaning. We noticed twice during the cruise that cabins were being fumigated by crew in hazmat suits & masks. Passengers were not notified of the spraying or what was used. I had concerns as I have asthma, but I was not told anything.
In the dining areas there was no self serve, no salt or pepper on the tables, few trays. It was sometimes difficult to get coffee, or much of anything as there was often a shortage of cups, glasses, or cutlery. It was sparse. Menu items were repeated many times with few exceptions. We seldom go to dinner in the main dining room as we hate to waste 2 1/2 hours of our day for one meal. There seems to be no way to not tip for services you don't use though. We did enjoy the Tuscan Grille very much. There was one upsetting problem about that, we had made our reservations before the cruise as we were told that was better and we got a reduced rate that way. I then found they had even better Specials during the cruise. We may have gotten a 10% Special, but people who popped in on almost any day during the cruise were getting 20% off.
Ship shore excursions were boring, overpriced, and badly run. For example - the young couple with an infant & stroller who were told that the Blackbeard's Castle tour where you had to walk down 99 steps was appropriate for them. They also just left you there and you had to walk over a mile back to the ship. We took a couple of private excursions and were delighted with the difference.
The entertainment was passable if not exciting. The Library has been reduced to half size with Very Few books. The Internet was down for almost half of the cruise - no refunds.
The worst thing was that my husband contracted Norovirus. He is Mr. Clean and had not passed a single sanitizer station without using it. He carries his own bottle of sanitizer. Still he became ill the morning of the eighth day. He reported to Sick Bay which was closed from 9:30 AM to 5:PM. No luck there. He then went to Customer Relations in the Main Lobby area and told them he was ill as required. They told him to go back to his cabin and they would have a Nurse contact him. She never did. That evening when Sick Bay opened he drug himself down there and threw up on their floor. The gave him medication and Quarantined him in the cabin. Customer Relations called a couple of times to see if we needed anything. They said they would cancel our Shore Excursions for us - which they did Not. The Shore Excursions were still on our bill when we checked it before disembarkation. The Shore Excursion desk said they could not cancel them as we had not returned the tickets. That's hard to do while you are quarantined besides they told us they did it when they quarantined us.
In all we missed three of the eight featured ports (Barbados, St. Lucia, & Antigua). Celebrity said they would compensate us for the portion of the cruise we missed due to being Quarantined in our cabin. I understand that according to their estimate that was from 6:PM on the eighth day (more than 8 hours after he became ill since Medical was closed) until 10:PM the next night. This was supposed to happen within four weeks. It has now been seven weeks since the cruise and despite my inquiry (to which they say they will respond within 24-48 hours) Nothing!
It seems our next two vacations are planned. Neither of them includes a cruise. That is really too bad as I have always enjoyed them very much until this last trip. Would I do it again - without the Norovirus and the unfilled promises - yes. I would love to see the ports we missed and take more private tours.